Off the Map
2003. Sony Pictures, Sony Home Video, Color, Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1, 105 minutes, Rated PG-13
Release Date: September 5, 2003
Off the Map is available at Amazon.com on DVD.
Movie Synopsis: When a tax auditor arrives at the home of a bohemian New Mexico family, events ensue which turn everyones lives in unexpected directions. ~Aimee
Cast: Amy Brenneman, Valentina de Angelis, Joan Allen, Sam Elliot
Director: Campbell Scott
Thoughts on the Movie:
I remember, not long after coming to New Mexico myself, more than twenty years ago, hearing almost exactly the same words spoken by Joan Allen in Off the Map: New Mexico is a little overwhelming. And I remember, after having some time to acclimate myself, saying almost exactly the same words to others who found themselves a bit adrift upon settling here. Off the Map captures this power of place like no other film I have ever seen. New Mexico IS the central character of this film, the human characters being a part of that greater presence. But rather than working to diminish the human characters, it lends them all a bit of its own powerful presence.
On the surface, this is a quirky little movie about a lost soul who finds his purpose, his home, and his family in Northern New Mexico. It is also a coming of age story, and a story of a marriage. But each time I see it, I find an underlying beauty and depth I didnt notice before. I find a truth in this film about relationships; with others, yes, but more importantly with self and with the power of place. I look forward to always finding more in Off the Map for years to come. ~Aimee
Donner Ranch, San Cristobal, New Mexico (see Map)
The main location for Off the Map was the Donner Ranch, located at DH Lawrence Ranch Road, in the somewhat isolated high desert community of San Cristobal. The ranch is located about 15 miles northwest of Taos, somewhere along Highway 522.
Right: The view from the setting where William Gibbs first arrives at the Grodin home in the 2003 film, Off the Map.
About San Cristobal, New Mexico:
San Cristobal, New Mexico (population 338, elevation 7,434 feet; 36° 45 47 N, 105° 38 22 W) is located in Taos County, about 15 miles northwest of Taos, and about 7 miles southwest of Questa on Highway 522. San Cristobal is one of the small communities along the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway. It is a beautiful rural area, which allows for a very out in the country type lifestyle for those who make their home there.
About Taos, New Mexico:
Taos, New Mexico (population 4,700, elevation 6,969 feet; 36° 23 38 N, 105° 34 36 W) is located in northern New Mexico, approximately 60 miles north of Santa Fe, on US 84. Taos calls itself the Town of Taos and was incorporated as such in 1934. Taos is an enchanted town of romantic courtyards, cottonwood trees, narrow streets, and adobe walls. It is also a world-famous art and literary center (Taos boasts more artists per capita than Paris: approximately 1,336, with 96 galleries!). Taos is also a very popular ski resort in the winter and is adjacent to the historic Taos Pueblo.
To learn a lot more about Taos, see our Taos Information page.
Right: Joan Allen in a quiet scene from the independent film, Off the Map.
Lodging & Dining:
For Recommended Hotels, Motels and Lodges in Taos, see: Taos Lodging
For Recommendations for Dining in Taos, see: Taos Food
Campbell Scott won the Taos Land Grant Award from the Taos Talking Picture Festival.
The Donner Ranch is a neighboring ranch to the historic one Mabel Dodge Luhan gave to DH and Frieda Lawrence in the early 1900s. It was at that ranch that Lawrence was inspired by frequent guest, Georgia OKeeffe, to begin painting. This resulted in Lawrences infamous nude paintings known as his Forbidden Art. Perhaps this fact was the inspiration for the nudity of the two main characters of Off the Map, played by Joan Allen and Sam Elliot.
Right: Sam Elliot is one of the stars of the thought-provoking film, Off the Map.
Joan Ackermann, a former resident of Northern New Mexico, wrote and produced Off the Map as a play in a small theater in the Berkshires. When Campbell Scott saw it, he arranged to purchase the film rights that very night. Off the Map became a labor of love for Scott, who remarked that his first thoughts on seeing the play was that it was perfect. The only thing missing was New Mexico. Ive always been enamored of movies that are out in a natural place that is larger than the people in it, he said. Its not just about beauty, its about severity. You are constantly reminded of this living thing as opposed to something youre just looking at... it would have been a different movie if we had made it somewhere else.
The main set of Off The Map in San Cristobal, New Mexico, was plagued by unwelcome visitors, as noted by one of the crew: We had bears, we had snakes, we had every possible problem you could imagine.
Character Quote: Mr. Gibbs, New Mexico is a very powerful place. Often, when people first get here, it's a little overwhelming. ~Arlene Grodin (Joan Allen)